Top 10 Best One Direction Songs

One Direction performing live on stage.

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One Direction became the world's biggest boy band through five studio albums. They unleashed a series of big pop hits. But which are the best ten out of all those hit songs?

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Best Song Ever (2013)

"Best Song Ever" album art.

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"Best Song Ever" is highly energetic and enthusiastic. It served as the lead single for the group's third studio album "Midnight Memories." One Direction encapsulates all of the fun and humor of the group in one song. "Best Song Ever" peaked at #2 on the pop singles chart in both the U.S. and the UK. 

The accompanying music video is a humorous mini-film featuring the group members portraying additional characters ranging from a sexy female assistant to a gruff, hairy-chested music executive. It was filmed over a two-day period in Miami Beach, Florida. The music video also includes clips from the One Direction film "This Is Us." "Best Song Ever" broke the Vevo 24-hour view record with 12.3 million views. The record was later broken by Miley Cyrus with her controversial clip for "Wrecking Ball."

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Story Of My Life (2013)

"Story of My Life" album art.

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The ballad "Story Of My Life" from the group's third album "Midnight Memories" finds boy band One Direction moving in more of an adult pop direction. Critical observers praised the new approach by the group. Adult pop radio responded by sending the song all the way to #1. "Story Of My Life" also reached #2 on the adult contemporary chart while reaching #6 on the "Billboard" Hot 100. It has sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone. "Story Of My Life" was covered on the hit TV show "Glee."

The song was co-written by the band members and is accompanied by a poignant video directed by Ben Winston who also worked on the "Best Song Ever" clip. It includes footage of the real-life family of the band members. Photos are shown with the family when the One Direction members were young, and more recent photos show the deceased relatives fading away.

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One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks) (2013)

"One Way Or Another" album art.

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One Direction covered Blondie's "One Way Or Another" and the Undertones' "Teenage Kicks" in this 2013 mash-up recording released as an official Comic Relief charity single. Their performance is strong and instantly bridges generations, bringing the energy of late 1970s punk to an entirely new generation of music fans. "One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)" climbed to #13 on the U.S. pop singles chart and went all the way to #1 in the UK. It was the first Comic Relief single to reach #1 since 2009. "One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)" earned a gold certification in the U.S. for sales. The recording earned a Brit Award nomination for Best British Single.

The accompanying music video features British Prime Minister David Cameron. It was shot in multiple locations around the world including Tokyo, Ghana, London, and New York City. 

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What Makes You Beautiful (2011)

"What Makes You Beautiful" album art.

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"What Makes You Beautiful" is the single that started it all for One Direction. According to the upbeat lyrics, a girl overwhelmed the guys in One Direction simply by flipping her hair, but she didn't understand she is beautiful. Many observers have seen similarities between the opening guitar figure in this song and "Summer Nights" from "Grease." Co-songwriter Savan Kotecha said that he had the melody for the song in his head for a year and was inspired to begin writing lyrics when his own wife complained one day of feeling ugly. The members of One Direction stated that they knew this song should be their first single as soon as the recording was complete. "What Makes You Beautiful" was a #1 smash hit and landed in the pop top 5 in the U.S. It also broke into the top 10 in adult pop and adult contemporary radio while topping the dance chart. The song has sold over four million copies in the U.S.

The accompanying music video was filmed at Malibu in California. It was directed by John Urbano and earned two MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Pop Video. One Direction took home the Best New Artist Award as well. 

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Kiss You (2013)

"Kiss You" album cover.

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"Kiss You" is an effortlessly fun track from the "Take Me Home" album. It is uptempo and driven by pop guitar. The song became One Direction's sixth top 10 pop hit in the UK upon release as a single in late January 2013. "Kiss You" was reportedly written in response to a challenge from the group's manager Simon Cowell for notable songwriters to come up with songs for their second studio album. "Kiss You" is included in the dancing game "Just Dance 2014."

The accompanying video cleverly spoofs a number of teen-oriented movie genres. Among those referenced are '60s beach movies and Elvis Presley films. The music video attracted 10.4 million views in its first 24 hours on Vevo.

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One Thing (2012)

"One Thing" album cover.

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"One Thing" has one of the most instantly catchy choruses of all of One Direction's hits. It was the third consecutive top 10 pop hit for the group at home in the UK and is included on the "Up All Night" album. It has sold over a million copies in the U.S. and landed in the top 15 at mainstream pop radio. "One Thing" was originally written as two different songs. Co-writer Carl Falk said one had a good verse and the other had a good chorus. When they were merged, the finished song finally came together. He said that it was his personal favorite of three songs he worked on that are included on the "Up All Night" album. "One Thing" broke into the top 40 on adult pop radio in the U.S.

The music video pays homage to the Beatles and the Monkees in its depiction of an energetic day in London for the group members. One Direction group member Harry Styles said the filming of the music video was a "fun, carefree romp."

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Live While We're Young (2012)

"Live While We're Young" album art.

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"Live While We're Young" was the first single from the album "Take Me Home" and finds One Direction in a party mood. The song landed at #3 on the pop singles charts in both the U.S. and the UK. It was a top 10 smash almost everywhere else in the world. "Live While We're Young" successfully laid the groundwork for the album "Take Me Home" to hit #1 around the world. When the accompanying music video was first released, it set a new record for most views on Vevo in a 24-hour period. That record was subsequently broken by Justin Bieber. The first-week digital sales total of 341,000 was the highest debut week total for any non-U.S. artist. The song also opened at #3 on the "Billboard" Hot 100, the highest debut by any British artist other than Elton John's "Candle In the Wind" tribute to Princess Diana. "Live While We're Young" was covered on the hit TV show "Glee."

The accompanying music video was directed by Vaughan Arnell. It shows One Direction performing the song in a camp setting and at a pool party. The clip was filmed at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England.

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Perfect (2015)

"Perfect" album cover.

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The uptempo "Perfect" became the final top 10 pop hit single in the U.S. for One Direction. It followed "Drag Me Down" as the second top 10 hit from the album "Made In the A.M." The album is the group's second to generate two top 10 hits in the U.S., following "Midnight Memories." Julian Bunetta, co-writer and co-producer of the song, said the creation of "Perfect" was sometimes difficult because it was written and recorded while the group moved from place to place on a concert tour. "Perfect" reached #2 on the UK pop singles chart and broke into the top 25 on adult pop radio.

The "Perfect" music video was directed by Sophie Muller. It was filmed in black and white and shows the group living on tour. The clip was filmed at the Intercontinental Hotel in New York City.

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Drag Me Down (2015)

One Direction album art "Drag Me Down."

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"Drag Me Down" is the first One Direction single released after the exit of Zayn Malik from the group. It retains an air of strong, professional musicianship. Stellar initial sales and mainstream pop radio support led to a strong chart debut at #3 in the U.S. "Drag Me Down" also reached the top 40 at both adult pop and adult contemporary radio. In the UK, it was the group's fourth #1 hit. Zayn Malik praised the work of his former bandmates in social media. "Drag Me Down" served as the leadoff single from the band's fifth studio album "Made In the A.M." It hit #2 on the chart, the only one of the group's studio albums to miss #1.

The accompanying music video was directed by Ben and Gabe Turner. It was filmed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The band members are shown experiencing aspects of astronaut training.

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Steal My Girl (2014)

One Direction "Steal My Girl" album cover.

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"Steal My Girl" was released as the lead single from One Direction's fourth studio album "Four." Group members Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne helped write the song. Many reviewers commented on the similarities between the sound of "Steal My Girl" and '80s power ballads, particularly Journey's "Faithfully." Multiple observers believed that it could be the One Direction single that would attract the attention of parents of fans. The song reached #13 on the U.S. pop chart and broke into the adult pop radio chart. In the UK, it became One Direction's eighth top 3 charting hit.

The accompanying music video is a big budget affair starring Danny DeVito and a marching band. It also includes Masai warriors, ballet dancers, sumo wrestlers, and animals including a chimpanzee, mountain lion, and flamingos.